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Houston’s Most Unusual and Unique Open House Event — It’s All Designer (and Free) On Essex Lane

Two Special Houses Side by Side

BY // 11.01.22

Two prominent figures in Houston home design are inviting architecture and contemporary construction fans to a most unusual open house event. Developer Carol Isaak Barden and architect/interior designer Lauren Rottet will open the doors on their neighboring houses for visitors not only to see their work but also to meet the craftsman behind their sophisticated dwellings.

This rare opportunity takes place from 4:30 to 7 pm this Thursday, November 3 at 4006 Essex Lane and at 4010 Essex Lane. The location is in the prestigious Highland Village neighborhood in a block of Essex known for its live oak canopy and signature architecture.

Developer Carol Isaak Barden's The House of Many Palms at 4006 Essex Lane. (Julie Soefer Photography)
Developer Carol Isaak Barden’s The House of Many Palms at 4006 Essex Lane. (Julie Soefer Photography)

Interestingly, the houses were designed together so that side-by-side they would have maximum privacy. Rottet’s house is pushed to the back of the lot with a pool in the front while Barden’s is forward, which leaves room for a large pergola and outdoor kitchen and fireplace at the back of the lot. The savvy duo used the same builder and supervisor and shared many contractors.

“I have always wanted to introduce the public to favorite vendors and contractors,” Barden tells PaperCity. “And our guests will have the opportunity to meet our favorites.”

Home building is a personal passion for Barden who works with architectural designer Scott Strasser to create sensual homes with a modern design esthetic. Her house at 4006 Essex Lane, known as The House of Many Palms, combines Strasser’s creativity with Barden’s sense of elegance. Though modern in design, the 5,300-square-foot house exudes a special warmth due to the luxurious finishes and lighting.

The vast kitchen at 4006 Essex, The House of Many Palms (Julie Soefer Photography)
The vast kitchen at 4006 Essex, The House of Many Palms (Julie Soefer Photography)

Of special note is the north-facing tropical garden and pergola that will be furnished for dining and reclining during the tour by Thompson + Hanson‘s creative director Melissa Halleran.

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Next door at 4010 Essex Lane, internationally lauded architect and interior designer Rottet has created a sleek 4,696-square-foot home for her son Kyle that speaks to the beauty of simplicity. Floor-to-ceiling windows open to the private front yard that features a swimming pool which extends the length of the entry path. When completed, the dwelling will be furnished with Rottet‘s custom furniture and lighting throughout.

In both houses, visitors will meet the various trusted contractors and purveyors that have delivered  on the richness of materials and detailing of the highest quality. Both Rottet and Barden are excited to introduce these talented craftsmen to those with an appreciation of the highest quality in home design.

Lauren Rottet designed the home at 4010 Essex Lane for her son, Kyle, and his family. (Rendering courtesy of Rottet Studio)
Lauren Rottet designed the home at 4010 Essex Lane for her son, Kyle, and his family. (Rendering courtesy of Rottet Studio)

Among the purveyors will be the roofer, fence builder, lighting designer, millworkers, the mason who does the brick work, stucco and installs stone, the flooring contractor, the tile setter and the blacksmith who makes the gates. Plus, plumbing and hardware vendors.

The tour is free but no shoes are allowed. For those not wearing their cutest socks, booties will be provided. Shoes at the door, please.

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